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Bhutan Birding Tour – across the kingdom

Bhutan Birding Tour

16

Days

WILDLIFE

Trip highlights
Birding, wildlife, nature & culture

Bhutan has now opened its doors to visitors allowing us to travel through magnificent scenery with mighty Himalayan peaks towering in the distance, the mountain kingdom of Bhutan is unlike any other destination in the world.
The great mountain passes with fluttering prayer flags give way to vast countrysides often dominated by massive dzongs (temple-fortresses) serving as a central place of worship for the Buddhist religion that characterizes the country.

We will have an opportunity to visit several of these Dzongs, admire its traditional construction techniques and impressive artwork. Beginning in the west and we travel across the breadth of this remarkable country, on the only road traversing the country.

The birds and mammals are extravagant with a brilliant array of colors and seldom seen rarities including species that are unlikely to be seen outside of this pristine Kingdom including Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Beautiful Nuthatch, Golden Langur, Yellow-throated Marten and Serow.
As there are still very few hotels in Bhutan, our travels necessitate several nights of camping and many picnics. All this will be taken care of by our excellent ground crew. The experience is not only very comfortable, it also enable us to camp right at the spot of some of the best birding locations in the country.

Join us on this adventure through a paradise of culture, mammals, birds and scenic vistas as we explore the heavenly riches of Bhutan before it opens up to the general Public!

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro (L/D) Upon arrival in Paro airport, meet your guide and driver and transfer to the hotel nearby. After lunch birding along the riverbank of Paro Chu where we may see Ibis bill. They are found in this area throughout the year. Continue following Paro River towards Drukgyel Dzong, where we may find Black faced laughing thrush, brown dipper, spotted laughingthrush, Fire capped Tit, etc.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Paro-Thimphu (B/L/D) Morning drive to Chele La Pass (3950M), which is about one and half hour – birding in mixed coniferous areas. It’s quite popular for spotting Kalij pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Himalayan monal, Satyr Tragopan etc. Later drive to Thimphu for little more than an hour. En-route you may see many Cormorants along the riverbanks.
Option: If you wish, you can visit Takstang by a day hike instead of above. Along the way to Takstang, you will also see some birds.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 3: Thimphu-Punakha(Tashithang) (B/L/D) In the morning, we drive up to spectacular Dochu La (3100M) with panoramic views of snowcapped peaks of eastern Himalayas. Explore mixed coniferous forests, rich and diverse in vegetation. In this area we may see Satyr Tragopan, Spotted Nutcracker, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Yellow billed Magpie, Chestnut Tailed Minla, Collard Blackbird, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, etc. In the afternoon, do some birding in upper Punakha valley. Punakha and Wangdue valley enjoys sub-tropical climate, with Punatsangchu river comprising of Phochu and Mochu rivers running through it. Tonight we will camp in the dense forest along the bank of Mochu river in upper Punakha.
Overnight in Camping (tent).

Day 4: Punakha (B/L/D) This morning, we will do birding in warm broad-leaved forest following the swift Mo Chu River. Here we will search for the localized White-bellied Heron, Great Barbet, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Magpie Robin, Green Magpie, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Osprey, River Lapwing, Ruddy Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Merganser, Pied Kingfisher, Red-vented Bulbul, etc.
Tonight spend the night in a hotel near Wangdue.

Day 5: Wangdue-Trongsa (B/L/D) (140Km) Drive to Trongsa through warm/cold broad-leaved forests. We will be crossing the Black Mountains range called as Pele La at 3400 meters . Some of the birds we will be looking out for are Scarlet Finch, Black Drongo, Chestnut bellied Nuthatch, Slaty backed Forktail, Gorgeted Flycatcher, White throated Laughingthrush, Eurasian Jay, Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Verditer Flycatcher, etc. Along the way, we may also take a excursion to Phobjikha valley during the period, when black-necked cranes are around.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 6: Trongsa-Shemgang-Tingtibi (B/L/D) (130 KM ) Located in central Bhutan, Trongsa is the site of one of the most magnificent Dzongs (Fortress) in the entire kingdom. Drive south and do some birding in Yeshi Zam, which is probably one of the best place for spotting Yellow-rumped honey guide. Along the way, we also look for Birds in cold broad-leaved forests. Beautiful Nuthatch are often seen about 5km from Shemgang.
Overnight camping in lovely campsite near Tingtibi.

Day 7: Shemgang /Tingtibi (B/L/D) In the morning, drive on Gongphu road. We do Birding in these rarely visited warm broad-leaved forests, where we might find such goodies as Ggolden langur, Yellow-throated martin, Giant squirrel etc. birds – Rufous-necked Hornbill, Blue throated bee-eater,Collared Falconet, Maroon Oriole, Racket tailed Drongo, Red headed Trogon, Grey Treepie, Grey Nightjar, Hill Prinia, Asian Emerald Cuckoo etc.
Overnight in Camping.

Day 8: Shemgang-Trongsa (B/L/D) ( 190 KM ) Retrace our drive back to Trongsa, birding along the way. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest in Bhutan and built in 1647 which houses the local administration and the Monastic body. Then visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower that is converted to rich museum dedicated to the monarchs of Bhutan.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 9: Trongsa-Jakar (B/L/D) Drive to Bumthang, which takes about three-hours across Yotong La pass (3450M). On the way stop at Chume weaving centre, typical woolen product from Bumthang valley. En-route birding along in bamboo and coniferous forests. You may see Great Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Black billed Magpie, Red billed Chough, Eurasian Hobby, White-winged Grosbeak, etc. Red Panda is sighted frequently along this road.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 10: Jakar-Yonkola (B/L/D) Today we have another spectacular drive to eastern Bhutan across Thrumshingla pass with ever changing landscape and vegetation as we drive past Thrumshingla National Park. Along the way, may see Beautiful Rosefinch, Gold-naped Finch, little Forktail, White capped Redstart, Chestnut bellied Rock Thrush, Coal Tit, Green-tailed Sunbird, Longtailed Minivet, etc. We also have good chances to come across Red Panda in dense bamboo forests between Ura and Thrumshing La.
Overnight in Camping.

Day 11: Yonkola (B/L/D) In the morning, return to Namling for birding in cold broad-leaved forests. These areas possess best-unexplored forest in Bhutan. You may see Ward’s Trogon, Satyr Tragopan, Grey chinned Minivet, Chestnut breasted Partridge, Striated Laughingthrush, Rufous-necked Hornbill.
Namling is considered one of the best birding in the entire Kingdom and bird lovers can spend weeks here.
Overnight in Camping.

Day 12: Yonkola-Mongar (B/L/D) Along the way to Mongar, in the subtropical forests of Lingmithang, we may see the Blue throated bee-eater, Maroon Oriole, Racket tailed Drongo, Red headed Trogon, Grey Treepie, Grey Nightjar, Hill Prinia, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, etc. In the evening stroll around the township of Mongar.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 13: Mongar-Trashigang (B/L/D) Along the way, we spend time birding, especially in the area between Korila pass and Ngatsang village. We also take a short excursion along the feeder-road for birding opportunities in Korila area. In the evening, stroll around Trashigang township and may be even visit its Dzong.
Overnight in simple hotel.

Day 14: Trashigang -Morong (B/L/D) Making our way south on a road that clings tightly to the cliff face, we will pass through amazing rhododendron forests and breathtaking scenery on a clear day, with a high probability of seeing rare birds like Beautiful Nuthatch, Rufous-Necked Hornbill and Sultan Tit.
Overnight in camping.

Day 15: Morong-Samdrup Jongkha (B/L/D) Continuing south into the warmer foothills, we have high probability of seeing rare birds such as Violet Cuckoo, Blyth’s Kingfisher and Dark rumped Swift.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 16: Samdrup Jongkhar-Guwahati(India)(B) Today we will bid farewell to the richess of Bhutan and drive to Guwahati – about three hours. As you travel through Assam, we are likely to come across small bazaars that cater to villagers. These are fascinating sight to villagers coming to buy /sell produce and daily needs.
End of services or Extension tour to Arunachal Pardesh. From Guwahati, you can fly back to Delhi/Kolkata/Bagdoga and connect with flight home from there or arrange interesting North East Tour.

  • Group SizePrivate with your own group

  • MealsAll meals in Bhutan.

  • Trip Accommodation6 nights camping. Rest in hotels. The included hotels are best available standard tourist catagory hotels. They are comparable to three star in most cases with exception of those in Trashigang and S

  • Trip TypeBirding Tour

  • Trip SeasonsBest from late Feb till May and from October till Nov. Can be done for most part of the year.

  • Best MonthsMarch, April, October, November

  • Good MonthsJanuary, February, May, December

  • Lean MonthsJune, July, August, September

Prices & Dates

Cost Information

Tier Price based on group size (Per Person)
6-9pax: $3015
3-5 pax: $3120
2 pax: $3650
1 pax: $4580 (including single supliment)
Single room supliment $330


Trip Dates:
Private Journeys for independent travel with your own dates.


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Included

  • Accommodations (6 nights camping/9 nights in hotel)
  • All meals including some evening tea
  • All transportation by good quality private vehicle depending on the size
  • Entrance fees to the monuments
  • English Speaking Guide with birding knowledge.
  • Bhutan Visa fees, tourists fees (royalties)
  • Travel permits etc
  • Camping: Cook with equipments (tent/mattress, cooking equipments) will accompany through-out the trip.

Not included

  • Travel /Medical Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as bars, beverages, optional tips/gratuties
  • All personal gears/clothing and sleeping bags.
  • Flight ticket costs.

Accommodations


Hotels in Thimphu

Hotels in Punakha

Hotels in Trongsa

Hotels in Jakar

  • Mountain Resort

    Mountain lodge is located about one km north of Jakar town, on the way to Kurjey temple, overlooking Wangdicholing. It is one of the oldest hotel in Bumthang, owned and operated by the family. The eldest son was trained in Austria in hotel management...

    Click here for full description and more photos

  • Hotel Ugyenling

    Ugyenling hotel (former Wangduechholing hotel) was inaugurated in 2009 as a new hotel. Its location is near former Wangdicholing Lodge, which has taken over by Aman Resort. The hotel is owned and operated by BTCL. There are 20 very spacious rooms wit...

    Click here for full description and more photos

Hotels in Mongar

Hotels in Trashigang

Hotels in Paro

Hotels in Samdrup Jongkhar

Reviews / Testimonials

  • James & Thibaud Aronson
    May 2018
    Thank you for a fantastic time – 3 weeks! – in your beautiful country! ( Thank you for a fantastic time – 3 weeks! – in your beautiful country!)
    5 " " Dear Kinga! Thank you for a fantastic time - 3 weeks! -  in your beautiful country! You were the perfect guide for us and we equally enjoyed and learned from your knowledge about Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism and your skill at identifying bird songs! You really went above and beyond the normal call

    Thank you for a fantastic time – 3 weeks! – in your beautiful country! Dear Kinga! Thank you for a fantastic time - 3 weeks! -  in your beautiful country! You were the perfect guide for

  • Andrew P G Homes
    Andrew P G Holmes
    Nov 2010
    An exposure to the faith and devotion evident in Bhutan was an inspiration. ( An exposure to the faith and devotion evident in Bhutan was an inspiration.)
    5 " " Dear Kinga/BirderGuru, Rosie and i would like to thank you so much again for making our visit to Bhutan so fantastic and special. We reflect on the time together with you, the things that we saw, the people we saw and met, the places we visited, the festivals we were so

    An exposure to the faith and devotion evident in Bhutan was an inspiration. Dear Kinga/BirderGuru, Rosie and i would like to thank you so much again for making our visit to Bhutan so fantastic

  • Regine B
    0/42 Tinakori Rd, Wellington, New Zealand
    Jan 1970
    Yes!! First visit, would love to come back. ( Yes!! First visit, would love to come back.)
    5 " " TID 134 Coates Birding Tour (October 24 - November 06 2008) Name of Tour Guide: Mr. Tashi and Name of Driver: Mr. Karma Please comment on the food, accommodation and the services rendered by the hotels/trekking crew. Accommodation much better than expected loved the hotel in Trongsa (in spite of the short power

    Yes!! First visit, would love to come back. TID 134 Coates Birding Tour (October 24 - November 06 2008) Name of Tour Guide: Mr. Tashi and Name of Driver:

  • Susan & Mike N
    Knoxville,TN
    Oct 2018
    The birdwatching also turned out to be better than we expected and we were able to see over 150 types of birds we’d never seen before. ( The birdwatching also turned out to be better than we expected and we were able to see over 150 types of birds we’d never seen before.)
    5 " " Sorry for the long delay in writing; we have been very busy since our return from Bhutan. Mike and I both had a wonderful time on our tour and we were especially pleased with our guide, Karma and driver, Thinley. They could not have been nicer or more helpful and

    The birdwatching also turned out to be better than we expected and we were able to see over 150 types of birds we’d never seen before. Sorry for the long delay in writing; we have been very busy since our return from Bhutan. Mike and I